There's this theory, see, that when people are getting things for free they don't have a lot of investment in them, and thus you get stuffed around more when you're giving things away than when you're selling them. But there are some things that aren't worth the effort of selling, but are too good to throw away, you know? Among these things were First's coat and lead. It's been nearly a year since she died and last time I looked at them I couldn't quite bring myself to get rid of them, even though I know I won't have another dog for a while. So this morning, a lady is going to pick them up from reception at my work, because I suspect that if I had to hand them over myself it'd get a bit messy.
Apart from some minor stuffing around, so far this Freecycle experience hasn't been too bad. The only thing that hasn't been claimed is a large suitcase. It's one with wheels and a handle and Dr Wheel has wheeled it (hehe) around the world a few times and it's getting on a bit, but still serviceable. He has a new one so this one's surplus to needs. If you need one or know someone who does, it's free to .. well, any home really.
Another thing that wasn't on the list but that happened anyway, was The Great Balcony Garden Rehash. The courgette was pretty much done, the tomatoes were suffering from powdery mildew (despite this, they have lots of tomatoes on them), the lobelia were not lobeling and one pot was sitting empty as its occupant had snapped its stem in the nasty winds last week. It was time for a cleanup.
So all the done things were pulled out and got rid of. The tomatoes came from Dr Wheel's Mum at Christmas and she'd planted 7 in a pot of 60cm x 25cm x 25 cm. Thus once they got big, they've needed watering pretty much daily. One day I forgot and I came home to find them flopping tragically about and "singing the desert song" as my Mum used to say. It was after this that they succumbed to the powdery mildew. Weirdly, after this they also grew about another foot.
Anyway, I'm not keen on spraying my food plants with anything that's a poison, so I looked up home remedies. Turns out a mix of 2 tsp baking soda and a few drops off dishwashing liquid in a litre of water supposedly does the job. I've been using this for about a week and although it seems to have arrested it, I have to keep doing it because it keeps coming back. ;-/ My mission is to keep them alive long enough to get fruit off them, then replace them with a more sensible number of plants.
I also planted red basil, parsley, mint, and some of those lettuces that you pull a leaf off here and there when you want one. So now my balcony has:
Oregano, dill, tarragon, sweet basil (which has bugs, they love it! but is also getting the homemade spray treatment), red basil, parsley, mint, garlic chives, tomatoes, lettuces, silverbeet, impatiens, sweet william, dianthus, one solitary surviving marigold, two leftover lobelia and a coleus. Also, the frangipani which at four feet high is more of a tree than a plant.
Later in the season I will add more pots (I can fit about three more overhanging the rails and a couple on hangers and shelves above), and maybe attempt some brassica and also bulbs. Because bulbs make late winter SO MUCH BETTER.
I would like to say I'm getting the hang of balcony gardening but it'll take at least a year before I'm confident that anything I plant will survive. And I don't think I've ever had so many issues with bugs and disease as I've had here (unless you count the chickens eating my entire vegie garden at Tinui, that's sort of like bugs - just really big ones). Also, the light's weird because the only direct sun is in the late afternoon and then it blasts in there. My decorative plants around the door are looking a bit worse for wear because of this and the geranium hasn't flowered this year, which makes me sad.
I also put another coat of paint on my balls and finished the first draft of my report for the BZP research. It's weird, the answer to the research question is pretty straightforward.
Q: It seems that the prohibition of BZP has actually stopped people using it. Is this true and if so, why?
A: Yes it's true, and in this case prohibition worked because BZP was a shit drug and there are better options available on the black market. Folks only used it because it was legal. When the risk of using it became similar to that of using other substances, they started using the other substances instead.
All the ex-BZP users in NZ: NO SHIT SHERLOCK!
So yeah, BZP can go down in history as the only substance banned by the NZ government for which banning has actually prevented use - but not because banning is a universally effective drug control method. It would be dangerous for anyone to assume that given that in almost every other case, prohibition has created more harm than it solved, and it's important that policymakers understand why this is so that they can add this information into their body of knowledge about the motivations of drug users. Someone has to do the research to back these statements (even though it seems like a no-brainer) and this is what I've been doing. Now I have to write about 10 pages summarising the evidence.
After which I get to stop thinking about drugs for a couple of days. The hardest part is how much other interesting stuff I'm finding in the transcripts, which is relevant to my own research, that I'm not allowed to take and run with. Stuff about people's attitudes to use, self-awareness, acknowledgements and approaches to drugs in general. Must.Not.Touch. *slaps own hand*
One day I will be intellectually free. By then there will be new games to play, and I will probably have to upgrade my machine to be able to play them. *sigh*
Other things achieved this weekend: Got a new bookshelf for our room which is now full of Books I Haven't Read Cos They Are Joel's, went to see the Raw show at Wellington Circus Trust, located studs in our house as Step 1 in making new storage systems*, ate Dr Wheel's awesome nachos with Actual Fresh Beans OMG YUM.
* Everything in a house is a system these days, get with the programme! A bed isn't a bed, it's a sleep system. Don't believe me? Go look.
Thank you to those who offered the use of their address for Dr Wheel's graphics card yesterday. I've passed the details on and he'll be getting in touch with info and gratitude. ;-)